Disaster Movie (Blu-ray)
Directed by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080pAVC codec
Running Time: 88 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: January 6, 2009
Review Date: December 28, 2008
After Scary Movie and its three sequels along with Epic Movie, Date Movie, and Superhero Movie, aren’t we “movied” out by now? Disaster Movie imitates the same predictable catch-all mentality of its predecessors with a central story that gives birth to a plethora of spoofs on current films, television shows, and media personalities whether they deserve spoofing or not. The producers of these films hope that just the very visibility and recognizability of these titles and characters will be enough to ensure hilarious entertainment. They forgot, unfortunately, to add the funny. One sits through the 88 interminable minutes of Disaster Movie ticking off the cultural references tossed in willy-nilly while also getting ticked off that the whole thing is such a, well, disaster.
Cloverfield is the movie chosen as the foundation for the satellite spoofs present in Disaster Movie. Sweethearts Will (Matt Lanter) and Amy (Vanessa Minnillo) have a lover’s quarrel and she leaves right when Earth is being invaded by . . . something. Attempting to get away from whatever’s attacking the planet finds Will and best bud Calvin (Gary 'G Thang' Johnson) and his girl Lisa (Kimberly Kardashian) stumbling onto a singing fairy princess (Nicole Parker) crawling out of the sewer. Trying to get back to his girl who’s trapped in a museum and needing his help, the duo sidestep numerous perils in an effort to save themselves.
Though Cloverfield is the basis of the film’s lame parody, it actually begins with a spoof of 10,000 B.C. where our hero (as a caveman) has to battle Wolf (Ike Barinholtz), one of the American Gladiators. After that dream is over, it’s open season on any movies and TV (whether they have anything to do with disaster films or not) as limp parodies parade across the screen, never funny and always extended well past the breaking point. I’m sure I missed some of the allusions, but the ones I spotted that are worked into directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s pitiful screenplay included WCW Divas, High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Hancock, Juno, The Day After Tomorrow, Sex and the City, Jumper, Prince Caspian, Enchanted, Twister, Deep Impact, Iron Man, Hellboy, The Incredible Hulk, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Batman, Speed Racer, A Night in the Museum, Beowulf, Kung Fu Panda, and The Love Guru. Among the already overhyped celebrities who get roasted here are Dr. Phil, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, Michael Jackson, and Miley Cyrus.
A couple of actors really go all out doing yeoman’s work in many different roles sprinkled throughout the movie. Highest on the totem pole for tribute is Mad TV’s Ike Barinholtz who not only plays Wolf but also Hellboy, Batman, Beowulf, Prince Caspian, a policeman, Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, and probably a few other characters I missed. He and fellow Mad TV actor Nicole Parker (who does the princess, Amy Winehouse, and Jessica Simpson) dredge up practically the only funny moments in the entire show. Some of the other actors like Matt Lanter and Vanessa Minnillo certainly have talent, but improvisational parody isn’t their strength, and their good looks can only take them so far amid the feeble craziness. Actors like Gary 'G Thang' Johnson depend largely on stunt doubles for the only interesting moments their characters provide.
The film is framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. While everything is sharp and clear and color is richly hued and solid, the contrast levels of the transfer seem a little light resulting in only average blacks. Flesh tones are very good, however, and overall, the picture quality is better than the film deserves. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track is the one facet of the production where the budget was not skimped. The seven channels are all thunderously alive through much of the movie with more than adequate deep bass at appropriate moments, and lots of activity in all of the fronts and rears almost constantly both with music and engaging sound effects.
The audio commentary can be merely listened to or it can be picture-in-picture enabled to watch the three top-billed cast members and selected crew watch the film and laugh among themselves at what they’re doing. Nothing earthshaking is revealed in the commentary, but fans of the actors or the movie will enjoy their rambling.
All of the bonus features are presented in 1080i.
“Straight From the Ladies” is a 4-minute featurette featuring Crista Flanagan and Nicole Parker ad-libbing in character about being on the set and making the movie.
“G-Thang’s Tour” is a fairly pointless 10 ¼-minute walk behind-the scenes of the movie while shooting is taking place. We visit his trailer and indulge in some impromptu interviews with selected members of the cast and crew.
“This Is How We Do It” was filmed on the day of the film’s wrap as various actors talk about working with each other as pop-up facts appear on the screen. This feature runs 9 minutes.
“Girl Fight” is a very brief 1 ¾-minute look at the staged fight scene between Carmen Electra and Kimberly Kardashian as two WCW divas. Fans of the two ladies will be disappointed that this vignette isn’t any longer or more revealing.
“Sitting Down with a Stand-Up” is another worthless 7 ¾ minutes with actor Gary 'G Thang' Johnson as he riffs on just about anything that crosses his mind.
“Who’s Spoofing Who” is not only ungrammatical but also only 4 ¼ minutes of the cast talking about the reactions of celebrities whom they’ve spoofed over the years.
The two major song sequences in the film (“I’m F**king Matt Damon” and “High School Musical”) are given a sing-along treatment with lit-up lyrics beneath the clips from the film. Each is 4 minutes long.
“MoLog” is a BD-Live application whereby users can tinker with the film on-line and share with other users on the net. This feature was not active during my review period.
There are also 1080p trailers for My Bloody Valentine 3D, The Spirit, Crank, Lord of War, and The Punisher.
Not worthy of even a footnote in the history of screen comedies, Disaster Movie aims low and still misses the mark more often than not. An outstanding Blu-ray treatment does the show no favors pointing up its lack of imagination and wit with screaming exuberance.